I cut my hair. Not drastically, but a few inches off, which is quite a big deal for me. When I was a kid, I used to have a little bob which everyone told me was cute and pretty and sweet. Then I hit twelve and started to hate how I looked in the mirror and I grew my hair long to hide away from everyone. Maybe it took a while before I felt ready to come out of hiding again.
In the meantime, I will have some coolio, amazing, great news in the next couple of days! Which should be fantastic to share, but right now, I don't want to tell anyone because I have a terrible fear of jinxing amazingly cool things that happen. But stay tuned for exciting news and cool dreams and good things!
It's a weird thing to know that you've finished with school forever. It felt like something I've looked forward to since I was four years old and it's also a place I never have to go back to. I'll never have to wear school uniform again, never have to sit through a class and watch the clock. All that is over.
Yesterday, after we finished our last ever exam, my friends and I sat in a coffee shop with fairy lights draped all around and talked while "My Number" by Foals played in the background and we all skittered around the fact that we'll never have to go back to school, ever. Even afterwards, as I tried to balance on stepping stones across a stream and ate blackcurrant and clotted cream ice cream in the early evening, my friends' laughter all around me, it didn't feel quite real. I had "Head.Cars.Bending." by The 1975 playing in my head and nothing felt as if it had quite sunk in, as if it was quite real that our lives may have started without us realising.
The other day, my parents and I were driving around the city aimlessly, in a late Sunday evening with the sunlight filtering in through the window. A party the night before had lingered into the early hours, with my cousin telling stories about the various customers he'd dealt with and the actors he played football with, as we hung out in the kitchen and he pretended to be a bartender. I was in that pleasantly tired phase, memories still buzzing in the back of my mind. I was sitting in the backseat, with my ipod playing music through the car. The 1975 had been filling the evening air for most of the journey and now we were driving around, looking at all the houses we once considered moving into.
"That could have been your garden" my dad said, pointing at the front of one. "That could have been your room" he said, pointing to the window of another. It was a strange feeling to think about what could have happened if we had lived in another house, how many lives would have changed, if there are any other lives I would have led. It was a strange thought in the evening sunset, and I mulled it over while "Hate To See Your Heart Break" played in the background, until my dad asked what song that was because he wanted to listen to it again.
Last night, Orange Juice was playing on the vintage music channel and my mum paused it to tell me how my dad had hung out with one of them when he was younger for a whole afternoon, through one of his friends from his band, and didn't realise until afterwards who he'd been talking for the day. They had a quick debate but neither of them could remember who it was. Whenever my cousin Lucy comes to stay with us, she always remarks on how great my parents' relationship is-that they suit each other perfectly. I watch them and have to agree. Now, writing this, I can hear the sounds of "Everlong" playing from down the landing, where my dad is playing it perfectly on his guitar in the music room.
Hate To See Your Heart Break-Paramore
English Tongue-Palma Violets
Rip It Up-Orange Juice
Everlong (acoustic)-The Foo Fighters
Over My Head (Cable Car)-The Fray
When lines from a song get stuck in your head, it can be a blessing and a curse at once, especially when they could apply to you right now. Especially when it's something they'd all want to help me with but I can't explain, even if they ask.
Never Love Anyone Who Treats You Like You're Ordinary Shirt-Rad Clothing
Skull Skirt-This Is Pulp
Skull Necklace-Dysfunctional Doll
I'm Not Your Toy Wristband-This Is Pulp
I love this wristband. I don't know if it was intended as a feminist message but it's what I choose to interpret it as.
The first photo was taken right after I'd finished my first exam and right before I went down with a cold and sore throat that right now is making me feel as though I'll never be well again. Trust me, the feeling of your throat aching each time you swallow is not a comfortable sensation, even when you're curled up on the couch scribbling fanfiction while watching Modern Family, and adoring Cam and Mitchell's cuteness.
To be fair, my Philosophy exam went a lot better than expected, which might have been helped along by the knowledge that it's the penultimate exam I will ever take. So I get one day off before I go back to studying for my Ethics paper next week. Even though I've been dreaming about my exams finishing since the day I sat my first end-of-year tests, there's something weird about knowing this might be the last time I'll ever have to revise for a test. It's not something I'll exactly be nostalgic for, but it's weird to know I'll never have to hate it again.
It's so strange to be pulled between being proud and being sad at the same time. Like for a few moments, you can like something about yourself, be proud of yourself, think of yourself as someone who matters. And then something happens; someone points out something you've done wrong, they snap it at you and make you jump, and you start to see everything else you've ever done wrong, and it makes the darker thoughts creep in again, curling around the brighter, stronger ones, vines winding around a ray of sunlight, trapping it, choking it into blackness. Or it can be something little, like someone not calling you back and even though you know they're just busy, your mind attacks itself with questions have I annoyed them, are they mad at me, are they ever going to talk to me again, what if something's wrong, what if I've messed everything up and anxiety's like a cold fist in your stomach that's always hurting.
It's late and I'm tired and my head's buzzing with exams I've got to study for-there's been studying, so much studying, the last few days, and sometimes, I wake up reciting facts I will probably never need to use again after the next few weeks are over. Here's a playlist for the last week:
I Miss You-Jamestown Story
Don't Wish-Tonight Alive
Favourite Thing-Tonight Alive
Making Plans for Nigel-XTC
In Loving Memory-Jamestown Story
Lego House-Ed Sheeran
Heart Out-The 1975
Better Open The Door-Motion City Soundtrack
Unlocking The Mind-Samuel Karl Bohn (The Theory Of Everything Soundtrack)
It is the season of everyone leaving and returning and beginning; it's the start of summer and my friends and I are wandering the city, some waiting for exam questions, for jobs. Sometimes, I think we're waiting for our lives to start and then I remember that they already have-it's sometimes easier to forget, though.
We're walking down by the promenade, with the wind blowing in our hair and the sun hot on our skin, when I say "Have you noticed we live in a city that kind of has everything?"
I wonder if this is another Lydia-thing, a thing that just I have noticed, but my friend lifts her head and nods. "Yeah" she says. "We do."
"But we never notice it" I say and what I mean is I chose not to notice it.
My house is away from the main road, and kids play in the street outside, can pedal around on their bikes and sell cakes at doors for charity sales, and can have water fights, screaming with laughter in the sunshine, without every breath being a breath of am I in danger, am I safe, am I, am I, am I. The houses are big and people say hi when they see each other and you can recognize faces in the sweetshop or the park across the main road outside our close, separate and near. Nearby, the houses in our city are clumped in little villages; some even have the name afterwards, Village, as if trying to recapture a sense of the countryside, of older times when everyone knew everyone. In those little villages, however, everyone can at least recognize mostly everyone, and there is that sense there, for a moment, of it being one of those places-those places some people shake their heads and complain don't exist anymore.
But the quietness fades quickly in the shopping malls-not one, not two, not three-there are too many to count, split-level shopping malls in town, with steps where we can sit and stare out at the city centre, which is alive with noise and people playing guitar with hats in front of them and someone always in the middle of a street performance. Boys on skateboards trying to look older and cooler than they are whizzing through shoppers, huge multi-level shops on either side, a glass bubble lift whooshing up into the air. Up and across a few streets, and you find the shops filled with dreamcatchers and records, a Forbidden Planet, American diners, a massive building filled with basements and landings and stores full of trilby hats and Harry Potter memorabilia, heavy-chained necklaces and purple skull candle-holders. There are theatres and retro cinemas and a skate park slapped right between two buildings, where boards are always slapping the ground. Bright graffiti covers walls and sometimes, it looks better than the wall did.
Some people say their towns have nothing to do. Our city has the opposite. There's music playing from the second you step out of a car, there's people singing and miming in the street, there's always kids running around on a pool of water inside giant transparent beach balls or a mini-rollercoaster that seems to have appeared overnight, or a Krispy Kreme shop just sitting smack in the middle of the street for everybody to walk around, and then get pulled inside by multi-coloured doughnut sprinkles anyway. There's always a gig playing somewhere, a chance to hang out in a place where someone famous once sat and drank or played or just laughed and gave everyone there a story to tell years later. The streets are always alive with the thrumming of music and memories.
The woods are everywhere too-trees in parks that quickly devolve into something like a forest you can get lost in. As kids, we often did, daring each other to run further, to climb higher. I remember the bark sore against my hands, and my cousin's hand around my wrist dragging me higher, so I could say I'd touched my favourite branch, so I could say I'd climbed it. As kids, we'd dare each other to run through the haunted dell, the branches seeming to whisper at our skin, and then one Halloween our whole family walked through it at eleven at night, with our uncle waiting at the end to jump out at us, our hearts pounding through the layers they'd wrapped us up in, and our screams echoing off the tree trunks.
I could hear the seagulls cawing as my friend stood up on her bike pedals ahead of me, and there was a taste of salt on the air. There's a seaside, too. Of course there is. The promenade that leans over the beach, with artist's sculptures behind us, along the main road-the beach with the stone steps that we used to pick our way carefully down, the stones that give way to sand under our bare feet. The water would be out most of the time, that giant expanse of sand ours to sculpt into castles or sink between our toes but sometimes, we'd paddle, shrieking at the shock of the cold on our bare feet. At night, when the water was in, we'd lean against the metal bars with too-late ice cream cold in our mouths and stare down at the water, and the lights of the city on the other side, and if we squinted from the very top of one of the longest roads, we could even see the mountains of another country in the distance, which to us was one of the biggest things in the world.
People are leaving and returning and staying and all of them at once. I want to see more places, more things than I've seen. Until now, I tried not to notice the things about the place where I grew up, because it gave me an excuse to leave, to not care. Only now, when the time's coming when I will leave, do I look around and realise that while I might not want to stay, I couldn't stay away forever either. I will be able to leave and only now does it occur to me that I'll sometimes want to come back.
So, I'm surprised I don't hear more about the novel Good Girls by Laura Ruby. It's about high-school and slut-shaming and what happens when photos get leaked. It's about how truly, horribly unfair it is when a girl is victimized as a "slut" and a guy is seen as a golden boy. It's about how your friends can get you through the hardest stuff and how you don't have to be ashamed of wanting to make out with that guy because you know what? It's totally up to you and anyone who says otherwise, you can tell to take a hike.
So I made a playlist and like most of my music listening, it included a lot of Taylor Swift.
Bad Reputation-Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
I Knew You Were Trouble-Taylor Swift
Never Said-Liz Phair
She Has A Rep-Switchblade Kittens
Can't Finish What You Started-Motion City Soundtrack
You Call Me A Bitch Like It's A Bad Thing-Halestorm
Hey, guys! I know it's been an insanely long time, but trust me when I say, I've been busy the last week. Busy. Bu-u-sy.
I was bridesmaid in a wedding between two of our dearest friends and it was a wonderful, amazing day. I will have a few pictures of my bridesmaid's dress up in the next few days, and of the awesome wedding decorations. (They had personalized cufflinks and sweets. Artist-designed sweets!) It was a day of long photograph sessions, my dad printing off his best man speech at the last minute, trying not to get my bridesmaid's dress caught in the car, starting and finishing a novel (Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang) and chatting with our professional screenwriter friend who is awesome and funny and also knows some coolio writing tips.
In the meantime, I've also been revising. Which is decidedly less thrilling. And I mean, big-time, less thrilling. But it has to be done, I guess, and it's the last time I'll have the dreaded EXAMS anyway. (Plus, it's only two papers.)
And. I also have exciting news! Happy, wonderful exciting news! BUT-why's there have to be a but?-I can't tell you guys bout it yet. (I know, I know.) But trust me, hopefully, there'll be news soon.
In the meantime, here's a playlist for the last week:
Holiday-The Birthday Massacre
Everywhere Everything-This Century
Boy Games-A + Dropouts
Bloodstream-Ed Sheeran, ft. Rudimental
Let Her Go-Passenger
Hold My Hand-Jess Glynne
Kids In The Basement-Samantha Savage Smith
Everything With You-The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart